MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Srinivasan: The main findings of this study are that the neurotrophic factor GDNF is was able to protect against the weight gain induced by mice on a high fat diet. The mice that had overexpression of GDNF showed less weight gain while eating the same high fat diet as the control mice. GDNF seems to have effects on the genes regulating fat metabolism and energy expenditure and this could be the mechanism of prevention of weight gain.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Srinivasan: Our initial observations that GDNF could prevent high-fat diet induced weight gain were unexpected but after we teased out the underlying mechanism we understand these findings better.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Srinivasan: There are many strategies to prevent weight gain including diet and exercise. Our study in rodents shows that GDNF could also help in the management of weight gain. Currently our studies are in rodents and future studies will need to be done in to establish the role of GDNF or it receptor agonist as a potential drug for treating obesity in humans.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Srinivasan: We are continuing to investigate the mechanism of how GDNF is regulating obesity. Our focus is on genes regulating fat metabolism and energy expenditure. As we understand this, new therapeutic targets may develop for the treatment or prevention of obesity.
S. M. Mwangi, B. G. Nezami, B. Obukwelu, M. Anitha, S. Marri, P. Fu, M. F. Epperson, N.-A. Le, M. Shanmugam, S. V. Sitaraman, Y.-H. Tseng, F. A. Anania, S. Srinivasan. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor protects against high-fat diet-induced obesity. AJP: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 2014; 306 (6): G515 DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00364.2013